Review: Water Source – We Went for a Swim and Parted Ways (self-released, Oct 25)

Water Source, a new project based in Portland, seems to be deeply concerned with distance. Besides the fact that distances from water sources are significant pieces of information for architects and planners, the artist’s visual and auditory aesthetic evokes it more in a sense of removal or detachment: brightly colored sledders and a barn through the wintry expanse of a cloudy-day snowfall, a yellowed old photograph bordered by simple white fabric, quotidian transmissions played back on a janky deck surrounded by the pressurized swell of silence. Tape music in this style is already interesting on its own, all languid blur and noisy nothingness, but when placed within a larger environment, whether real or artificial, casts it in an exquisite new light (UVC, Emily Eigner, Muddy Pussy). While the first part of the brief We Went for a Swim and Parted Ways is steeped in the warm comfort of passed time and memory, with fractured melodies and chord progressions twirling shakily on sticking spindles that thread between sparse object fiddling, the two following it seem to align with the subtle maritime theme hinted at by the title and artwork. II is a fleeting sketch of docked seafaring vessels bobbing against their restraints fused with a sputtering stem of shattered speech, and III, perhaps the most eclectic section, dances an erratic broken-toy waltz through tangentially theatrical episodes of no-fi concrète loops, ponderous piano, and clumsily bowed cello. Yes, much of We Went for a Swim takes place “far away,” no binoculars are necessary, not even a slight squint; there is beauty in the beyond.